This is the third story featuring Toby, with the familiar characters of Mrs Forbes, her husband Eric and their son Nigel; Martin Bywater and Josie Bright, and of course, Toby the Forbes' peke, as well as toy poodle Black Columbus and Toby's fancy in his breed, Soo-foo soy wah-wah. It's about a year after Toby's adventure in China and so Josie and Martin are now about twelve.
Eric takes Toby for a walk in the little park and they meet up with Mrs Montague their fairly new neighbour. The Forbes will soon be holidaying just across the Channel in Brittany, renting through a friend, while Mrs Forbes arranges a twinning project between Martin and Josie's school John Farways High (she's a governor) and Les Vergnes School. When Mrs Montague hears about this, she makes some very subtle inferences about corruption while ostensibly talking about plant names, which her cocker spaniel Jester points out to Toby are significant. Meanwhile, the peke awaits the discovery of graffiti cut into the bench dedicated to Mrs Forbes' Uncle William Watkins, who was on the local Council. Nigel did it.
Mrs Forbes decides to go over for 2 weeks to look at Les Vergnes school, and at the same time, take Toby to see the lovely prize-winning Yon-Sin Fan pekingese, Soo-foo soy wah-wah, again, who's coming over to France with her owners Mr and Mrs Tapei. Mrs Forbes has kept in touch with Mrs Tapei, who's seen some French Papillon puppies on the internet and would like to buy one in France, where they seem to have originated. She's bringing Soo-foo with her to ensure she gets on with the new puppy, and because she and Mrs Forbes are now considering whether a love match might be feasible between Soo-foo and Toby, to produce some super peke puppies with ideal lineage. (They've in fact already fallen in love in China!)
Nominee for 2014 Costa Children’s Literary Awards
Julia Hands (Cambs B.A.Hons) was born in Solihull, Warwickshire, growing up in Somerset and Warwickshire. She has a degree in English Literature having studied at Cambridge University. She's worked in various office jobs as a secretary and freelanced as an editor. She has worked for charity and enjoyed teaching in Adult Education while also writing for children. Inspiration has come from travelling in Europe and living in London and now pens her craft from her home in Shaldon Nr. Teignmouth Devon.